Miserable Rainy Hunt Turns Into Muzzleloader Success


Well-known member
Jul 6, 2016
My daughter (19) and I had archery elk tags, and my son (22) had a muzzleloader cow tag, and my wife was with, but doesn't hunt. We hiked in about 6 miles and set up camp. We saw elk across the valley as we were setting up. As my son and I made our way down and back up the other side of the valley it started to rain. We sat under a pine tree and donned our rain gear, then decided to tough it out and keep going. When we got to the bottom of the avalanche chute where we had seen the elk it started raining harder. We again tried to hide under a tree, and ended-up standing there for a couple hours. When it was 30 minutes from dark, we decided we couldn't get anymore wet (rain gear and trees or not, at some point you're just wet) and should at least try to get further up the avalanche chute to look for elk. We started up but we were slipping and sliding so much on the wet grass and mud, we finally gave up and turned back. Of course, 10 minutes after turning back, it stopped raining, but then we were out of shooting light. The next day, we saw elk on the opposite side of the valley again, but it was raining steadily and we decided to rest and hope the weather would break. We spent most of the day in our leaking tents (living in CO, we rarely have a chance to test the rainproof-ness of our equipment, and most often it doesn't matter) or standing around a small campfire trying to dry out and warm up. 1703803879686.png
The rain finally stopped in the afternoon and my daughter and I made the same hike down and up to the avalanche chute. My son stayed near camp and could see the elk the entire time. He couldn't see us, but saw the elk run up and away from the direction we were coming from; we never saw them. The next day dawned sunny and warm and I decided to head out on my own. Unbeknownst to me, my son reloaded his muzzleloader (he had test fired it after the soaking rain and it barely had enough dry powder to push the bullet out of the barrel) and headed off to where we had been seeing elk. He hiked down and across again and saw elk in another avalanche chute. He hiked around them to get the wind in his favor and ended up paralleling them up the mountain over several hours. Meanwhile, I got back to camp about 4pm and no one was around so I texted everyone. My son replied that he was following a cow and calf up the "Y" (a spot we had named the day before). About 30 mins later I heard a boom echo across the valley. I immediately sat down and started glassing trying to find my son and instead saw about 10 elk streaming out of the "Y". About 30 mins later he finally texts, "I got one." My wife and daughter had heard the shot too and came back to camp. We grabbed food, water, and mostly empty backpacks and headed down, up, and over. He had shot it nearly at treeline 1703803977724.png and camp is about 2,000' feet lower on the other side of the valley. We arrived just before dark and were able to quarter it and get back to camp by about midnight.
The next day we packed it out to the truck. 1703803718783.jpegIt was a great weekend to spend together as a family and my son surprised me with his grit (suffering through the awful wet weather, heading up the mountain on his own, pursuing elk for hours on end and getting close enough to take a great shot with a muzzleloader).
Leupold BX-4 Rangefinding Binoculars

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